A snarling, gray pit bull ran after me one terrifying day last year as I jogged near my home. My heart beat fast with fear as the dog lunged at me, teeth bared. Suddenly, the dog’s owner appeared and grabbed the dog by the collar before it could reach me. I was lucky but I could have been one of the 4.5 million people bitten by dogs each year in the United States, according to the Center For Disease Control. I’ve since learned that there’s a lot runners can do to protect themselves against dangerous dogs.
Scout Out the Area Do a drive-through of the neighborhood where you want to jog. Look for dogs running loose. However, don’t scout out the area by walking or biking. If there is a dangerous dog living there, he could chase you.
Keep in mind that this method isn’t foolproof. Even dogs who are tied up or fenced in can break free and attack you.
Avoid the Area If you see a dog running loose, don’t jog there. Instead, continue to look for streets without loose dogs.
Another option is to jog in public parks, trails or tracks. These places either ban dogs outright or require them to be on a leash. Many places also have park police or other securityto handle any problems which arise. This is a much safer alternative than running in residential areas where vicious dogs may live.
Stop Immediately If a dog does chase you while you are jogging, stop right where you are. Dogs will interpret your running in one of two ways. They either think you are playing a game of chase with them or they will think you are prey. If you stop running and stand still, they may lose interest, according to Livestrong.
Turn and face the dog but don’t smile and don’t make direct eye contact. Dogs may interpret direct eye contact as aggression and smiling as baring your teeth. Keep an eye on the dog out of the corner of your eye and don’t turn your back on it, according to Livestrong.
Don’t yell at the dog. Instead, firmly tell it “no,” “stay” or “go home.” These are all commands most dogs are familiar with. Be sure you speak with a low, calm voice. If your voice becomes high pitched, it could aggravate the dog more instead of calming it, according to Livestrong.
If you have a sweatshirt, jacket or other soft object, throw it at the dog. The dog may attack the object and not you.
If the Dog Does Bite You, Stay Calm. If you cannot avoid a dog bite, remain calm and curl your body into a ball. This will give the dog the least amount of surface area to bite. Be sure you protect soft parts of your body such as your face, throat and belly, according to Livestrong.
Get medical attention immediately. Report the dog bite to police or your local animal control officer. Hopefully, the problem will be dealt with, and no one else will get hurt.
This article used some information on preventing dog bites from the Centers For Disease Control:
This article used some information on handling and avoiding dog attacks from Livestrong